Rupert cares about family and power; ideology always comes second

Andreas Whittam Smith in the Independent reminds us what the Murdoch empire is really about:

At its heart, News Corporation, for all its immense global interests, is a family company.

The Murdochs may not control all the voting rights in the group, but they run it as if they did. It is not a place where shareholders come first. Nor do employees (see the plight of the News of the World staff), nor old servants (see Andy Coulson thrown to the wolves). First, second, third, and last come Rupert Murdoch and his children. Not Rupert’s wives, as it happens, because they can be let go – as they have been. Rebekah Brooks isn’t a family member and that is why she should remain apprehensive.

For everything and anything will be sacrificed to maintain the family’s position. It is not so much the Murdochs’ financial interests that weigh heaviest in the balance, though they are important, but their power. Essentially they say to the world: this is ours and we are not going to let it go.

Rupert and his son James are bullies with the characteristic that often accompanies a ruthless manner – there is something cowardly about them. They won’t face their staff in meetings when they have bad news to deliver. Rupert Murdoch wouldn’t say a word when confronted by TV reporters in the US on Thursday evening. Rebekah Brooks, who apes the Murdoch manner, hurried away from the News of the World newsroom after announcing the closure of the newspaper on Thursday, only addressing shocked staff yesterday. This former editor doesn’t appear on television in case she stumbles over her words.

Text and images ©2023 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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